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Members of the education discussion group talk about issues pertaining to the AAPI communities during the Denver Asian Pacific American Commission town hall on March 18, 2009 at the Holme Roberts & Owen offices. DAPAC will host a forum with various city departments and AAPI leaders on May 13. (Joe Nguyen/AsiaXpress.com)

 

DAPAC forum to discuss solutions to Denver AAPI concerns

Various city departments, local AAPI leaders to meet, discuss solutions to issues in communities

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Language barriers, awareness concern local AAPI leaders March 20, 2009

DENVER – The Denver Asian Pacific American Commission will hold a forum with various city departments and AAPI leaders to discuss solutions to problems within the community on May 13 at the Holme Roberts & Owen offices.

 

The forum comes 14 months after the DAPAC town hall meeting on March 20, 2009 where more than 70 community members gathered to discuss issues about education, health, immigration and economic development concerning the city's AAPI communities.

 

The commission consulted with experts from various agencies to prioritize the concerns, according to Commission Chair Fran Campbell in a letter to local AAPI leaders. The subsequent report was presented to Mayor John Hickenlooper in December. Representatives of Denver's city departments will address these concerns at the forum.

 

Needs and disparities identified from the DAPAC town hall meeting:

 

Cultural advocacy and immigration

• Invisible ethnic community caused by the model minority myth and a lack of mainstream media coverage

 

• Highly educated – 42 percent of AAPIs have a bachelor's degree or higher compared to the national average of 27 percent, yet hold only 1.5 percent of C-level positions in Fortune 500 companies

 

• AAPI communities are not seen as needing public assistance in the same degree and sense of urgency as other disparate communities. However, some AAPI communities are among the lowest income brackets in Denver

 

• Red tape is prohibitive to communities: access to certain resources are hindered because of communication and cultural barriers

 

• There is difficulty and/or inability to access health/mental health care and navigate processes to acquire care, especially among new immigrants and refugees—and many AAPI seniors are new immigrants

 

Economic development

• Refugee resettlement: employment is a problem after four to six months because of cultural and language issues

 

• Generational and cultural differences lead to economic stagnation, property devaluation and increased crime, especially in areas such as the south Federal Boulevard and west Alameda Avenue corridor

 

Education

• There is a lack of cultural knowledge, leading to stereotyping and prejudice

 

• There is a lack of training and culturally responsive materials

 

• There are few role models in education positions

 

• There are scarce resources based on the notion that AAPIs do not need help

 

For more information on the forum, contact DAPAC Chair Fran Campbell at frandenver@yahoo.com.

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